Activists make plan for Hong Kong democracy sit-in
HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters planning to blockade Hong Kong’s financial district should bring food, goggles and sleeping bags, democracy activists said Thursday, signaling their determination to engage in a prolonged confrontation after Beijing ruled out genuine democratic reforms.
Leaders of the Occupy Central movement said they would announce on Sunday when the long-threatened sit-in will take place.
The activists are using the protest to press their demand for Hong Kongers to be able to genuinely elect their own leader in 2017. Beijing last month ruled out allowing open nominations, saying candidates should be screened by a committee.
Earlier this week, movement leader Benny Tai invited people to join a “democracy banquet” that he said would take place when the rest of the country is observing a national holiday, a reference to China’s National Day on Oct. 1. Oct. 2 is also a public holiday in Hong Kong.
The Occupy Central organizers released a civil disobedience manual outlining what protesters should bring. The list included two to three days’ worth of food, goggles to protect against tear gas or pepper spray and sleeping bags.
“Residents should start preparing themselves mentally and physically for a baptism of disobedience,” said Chan Kin-man, another movement leader.
The organizers, who have vowed to rally 10,000 people, said they would rent portable toilets for women while men should bring plastic bottles.
The manual gave guidelines for non-violent protest and what to do after being arrested.
Hong Kong police will dispatch 7,000 officers handle the protest, local broadcaster RTHK reported, without citing a source. Police will start clearing out protesters early on Oct. 3, the report said.
Chan and Tai said volunteer lawyers, 80 social workers and 160 medical helpers will be on site to assist protesters.
The organizers are applying for permits to hold the protest but will go ahead even if their application is denied.